Today, a man working at the construction site on our street stopped me and insisted on giving me two dollars. “For the baby,” he sniffed as he wiped the construction dust off his face. “That’s hard, get yourself something. You got a baby!”
Felix and I were just returning from a brisk walk to the mailbox around the corner. He was strapped into the baby carrier, and we were both bundled up in our winter gear. It was a funny thing, this man giving me two dollars.
But it really has been quite the week. Felix seems to be cutting the rest of his teeth in one big hellstorm of sleepless nights and early mornings. He’s nursing constantly, and screeching a lot from the frustrating pain. I’m tired, and that makes everything feel much more dramatic and hopeless.
My life is great, but everyone has challenges. My particular set this winter involve the usual obstacles that a stay-at-home parent faces: boredom, loneliness, isolation. I have no car, and that means we are confined to our tiny apartment most days. In the summer, we took so many dreamy walks under a canopy of tree branches. I enjoyed narrating our journey to Felix, explaining the different sights and sounds we encountered.
It wouldn’t be out of place to describe my current situation as “burnt out”. What a marvelous example of the grass always being greener! I used to wonder how stay-at-home mothers could complain about anything. I kind of believed the images I saw on Instagram–the cozy ones, shot from above. Usually a mom on her bed in comfortable leggings, cradling a frothy latte as her chubby baby slept beside her. Maybe there’s a book perfectly positioned nearby, or a knitting project involving thick yarn and wooden needles. Extra points if there are dried roses hung on the walls.
These moments exist, they do. They exist when we make them exist. We work hard for that momentary fantasy. Usually, in the process, we regret even trying. “Why did I think I could have this simple quiet moment?!”
Yes, this was a rough week. I slept little, nursed lots, noticed for the umpteenth time how haggard I looked, only showered twice. I fantasized about the sort of office job I used to dread. I fantasized about quiet time in front of a computer, no one needing my body, no one begging me to read the same book twelve times in a row.
Felix is asleep, cozy and calm. I’m drinking a glass of wine. The week was not perfect, but we survived it. Cheers to all of you parents out there, the workers and the stay-at-homers. Lets keep pushing forward, fighting the burnout, and taking pride in the little people we’re supporting. Happy weekend, friends.